The new Guinness World Record for a non-human solving a Rubik’s Cube was set today at the UK’s Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. The record-breaking time was set by Cubestormer 3, a robot invented by David Gilday and Mike Dobson. Gilday is a principal engineer at ARM, a Cambridge processor design company, while Dobson works for Securi-Plex as a security systems engineer. After 18 months of work, they saw Cubestormer 3 break the previous world’s record when it solved the Rubik’s Cube in 3.253 seconds.
The previous record holder was Cubestormer 2 with a time of 5.27 seconds. The Cubestormer 2 was also designed and built by the same team, Gilday and Dobson. The record previous to Cubestormer 2 was held by a robot built in Australia by Swinburne University students in 2011. That record clocked in at 10.69 seconds. By comparison, the fastest human record holder is currently Mats Valk from the Netherlands with a solve speed of 5.55 seconds. Previously, the record was held by Feliks Zemdegs from Australia with a 5.66 second speed in 2011.
The Cubestormer 3 robot uses a Samsung Galaxy 4S smartphone to take pictures of the Rubik’s Cube in order to determine the fastest way to solve the puzzle. The phone is powered by an ARM eight core processor featuring four each of Cortex-A15 and Cortex-A7 processors. Once the phone analyzes the pictures, it computes the exact moves required and instructs the four robot hands to carry out the necessary sequence. In addition to the phone, the robot also features ARM9 processors which power the Lego Mindstorms EV3 bricks. There are eight EV3 bricks to control the motor sequencing. These processors, coupled with an independent braking systems and specialized software, allowed the Rubik’s Cube to be solved by Cubestormer 3 in just 3.253 seconds.
Gilday states that this demonstration indicates the speed of a Samsung Galaxy S4. Not only does the ARM-powered Exynos processor need to work out the solution but it also must then instruct the robot to manipulate the cube in the correct sequence. The complexity is greater than what might be intuited as Cubestormer 3 makes use of a speed cube. This means the sides do not need to be fully aligned before twists of the cube are possible.
In addition to setting the new world’s record for the Rubik’s Cube, Gilday used other ARM-based robots to set two additional world records. Using a MultiCuber 3 robot with a Hisilicon K3V2E processor, the fastest completion of a of the human-troubling cube was attained with a record time of 1 minute 18.68 seconds. The largest Rubik’s Cube ever solved by a robot was a 9x9x9. A MultiCuber 999 robot solved the Rubik’s Cube in 34 minutes 25.89 seconds.
These records were broken at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, UK. The annual fair is just one in a series of events focused on science, math, engineering, and technology for people 7-19 years old. Approximately 65,000 schoolchildren visit the fair each year. This year, attendees were able to witness the successful record breaking attempt where the Rubik’s Cube was solved by Cubestormer 3 in just 3.253 seconds. The Rubik’s Cube is regarded as one of the all-time best selling toys. Originally named the Magic Cube, it was invented in 1974 by architecture professor and sculptor Erno Rubik. An interactive exhibit dedicated to Rubik’s Cube will be opening in the Liberty Science Center, located in Jersey City, New Jersey, on April 26.
By Dee Mueller